BY DAYO ADESULU
Authorities of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) have explained why they deactivated 2.2 million Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) cards from all networks in the country.
The Executive Vice Chairman, Prof. Umar Danbatta said in Abuja yesterday that one of the reasons was improperly registration by subscribers.
His Director of Public Affairs, Dr Henry Nkemadu disclosed this in a statement on Sunday.
According to Danbatta, the initiative was to strengthen the security of lives and property for all Nigerians as being pursued by the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
Danbatta: “We have since initiated the second phase of SIM deactivation based on the ministerial directive. As at today (March 8), we have completely deactivated the remaining 2.2 million lines on the networks.
“This is contrary to reports by a section of the media, suggesting that nothing has been done with respect to the issue of improperly registered SIM cards.
“Following the September 2019 ministerial directive, however, the NCC, within a week, intensified efforts by reducing the number of improperly registered SIM cards from 9.2 million to 2.2 million.”
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Danbatta said the NCC had worked with determination and through various policy, initiatives to rid mobile networks of improperly or invalidly registered SIM cards.
The executive vice-chairman explained that this would ensure that the over 184 million registered SIM cards currently on Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) networks had valid data that were traceable and not anonymous.
According to him, our efforts received a boost, following the implementation of a September 12, 2019, ministerial directive that the NCC should compel service providers to block all improperly-registered SIM cards, pending when their owners regularise their registration.
“As at the time the ministerial order was issued, the commission, through its Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement team, had reduced the number of improperly-registered SIM cards on mobile networks in the country to 9.2 million, Danbatta”
He also recalled that the commission, in June 2019, began the second round of comprehensive verification audit of MNOs’ SIM card registration as part of the commission’s regulatory interventions.
The executive vice-chairman said the regulations were the setting up of the SIM Registration Industry Task Force, which led to several resolutions, including the Industry Working Group (IWG) on harmonisation of the SIM registration process.